Gordon Banks, England's 1966 World Cup-winning goalkeeper, dies aged 81

Gordon Banks is regarded as one of the finest goalkeepers to ever have played the game. Credit PA

The veteran shot-stopper, who played for Stoke City and Leicester City among a storied career, died peacefully in his sleep overnight, his family confirmed .

After beginning his career at Chesterfield in March 1953, his crowning glory came in the summer of 1966 when England defeated West Germany 4-2 in the World Cup Final to turn him into a household name and national hero.

The image of Banks flying through the air to save the goal-bound effort from Pele is still to this day one of the greatest moments in World Cup history.

Since the tragic news was announced, tributes have been flooding in from the sporting world.

Later that year he lost the sight in his right eye after a vehicle crash.

Banks, who played in every game of the 1966 campaign on home soil, is probably best known for a wonder save he produced to deny Brazilian great Pele in the 1970 World Cup.

"Gordon will be deeply missed and our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time".

The goalkeeper's spectacular stop in a group-stage clash with Brazil during England's defence of the trophy in Mexico is widely regarded as one of the greatest saves of all time.

Manchester City and England midfielder, Raheem Sterling said: "Of course there was THAT save, but its so much more we are mourning today".

Former England striker Gary Lineker said: "An absolute hero of mine, and countless others, England's World Cup victor was one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, and such a lovely, lovely man".

England's 1966 World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks has died aged 81. "All my thoughts with the family".

England manager Gareth Southgate said: "I am deeply saddened to hear of Gordon's passing. Our thoughts are with Gordon's friends, family and supporters at this hard time".

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